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Jan 3rd, 2009


Election Friction Flares in Iraq’s Violent North


Jan. 2, 2009

BAGHDAD — Tensions are mounting between Sunni Arabs and Kurds in the Iraqi city of Mosul, where political violence is increasing ahead of provincial elections.

The United Nations this week condemned attacks on candidates competing in the Jan. 31 provincial council vote in Mosul and the surrounding province of Nineveh.

Predictions that violence could flare ahead of the polls are already bearing out. On Wednesday, gunmen walked into a cafe in central Mosul and killed Mowaffaq al-Hamdani, a member of the Sunni Arab “Iraq for Us” party list. He was the second candidate to be shot dead in a month. …

An ethnic feud between Kurds and Arabs in the north has worsened in recent months, even as sectarian violence between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims in other parts of Iraq has eased.

Disputes have simmered across an ethnically mixed swathe along the “green line” that separates the autonomous Kurdish region from the rest of the country. In Kirkuk, a divided city Kurds want as their capital, the election has been postponed.

In Mosul, a mainly Arab Sunni bloc, al-Hadba, which takes its name from an askew mosque minaret, says it has been targeted in a crackdown orchestrated by Kurdish officials ahead of the vote. The United Nations says the group has been hit by raids. …

The Jan. 31 election comes at a fragile point in Iraq’s history, as U.S. troops come under an Iraqi mandate for the first time and Iraq’s ability to resolve feuds will be tested.

Interactive: Regional Powerplay

Fight for Iraq (MSNBC) —  NBC’s Richard Engel discusses ethnic, religious, and political conflict in and around Iraq.

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At Least 23 Die in Iraq Suicide Bombing

Dozens wounded in ‘Triangle of Death’ attack


Jan. 2, 2009

BAGHDAD — A suicide bomber sneaked into a luncheon gathering at a tribal leader’s home Friday and blew himself up, killing at least 23 people and wounding dozens.

The attack in Youssifiyah, in the area once known as the Triangle of Death because of its extreme violence, came a day after the United States relinquished the lead on security to Iraqi forces. The bloodshed highlighted the challenge that Iraqi police and soldiers face in trying to bringing order to a country gripped by religious, ethnic and political enmity.

Police officials who spoke on condition of anonymity placed the casualty tool at 30 dead and 110 wounded. But Iraqi Army Col. Aman Mansour Ibrahim, who was on the scene, said 24 were killed and 38 wounded. The U.S. military said Iraqis were reporting 23 dead and 32 wounded.

Conflicting reports on the number of dead and wounded are common in Iraq in the chaotic aftermath of attacks. But it appeared the blast was the deadliest attack in Iraq since Dec. 11, when a suicide bomber killed 55 at a cafe in Kirkuk. …

Youssifiyah is in the Sunni-dominated region south of Baghdad. Bloodshed in the region and across Iraq declined markedly in 2008, but violent rivalries persist throughout Iraq.

The bomber also reportedly was a nephew of a nominee for the provincial council, a local official said on condition of anonymity.

Most of Iraq will hold provincial elections on Jan. 31 and there is strong concern that violence could spike in the run-up to the vote.

Also Friday, gunmen killed two people when they opened fire on a checkpoint manned by members of the Sons of Iraq in Jurf al-Sakhar, police said. Four other people were reported wounded in the attack 40 miles south of Baghdad. …

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Security Developments in Iraq

Following are security developments in Iraq on Jan. 2, 2009, as reported by Reuters.

YUSUFIYA – A suicide bomber killed at least 23 people and wounded 42 when he snuck into a lunch gathering of Sunni Arab tribal leaders in the town of Yusufiya, 12 miles south of Baghdad, the city’s security spokesman Major-General Qassim Moussawi said.

MOSUL – Gunmen killed a civilian in a drive-by shooting near his house in western Mosul, 240 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – A roadside bomb wounded a policeman when it struck near his patrol in western Mosul, police said.

MUSSAYAB – Gunmen stormed a local Sunni Arab neighborhood patrol checkpoint, killing three of its guards and wounded six others in Mussayab, 40 miles south of Baghdad, police said.





2 Responses to “Tensions Mount in Northern Iraq”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Underwear Bomb: No Smoking Gun Says:

    […] Tensions Mount in Northern Iraq […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » John Wheeler III Murdered Says:

    […] Tensions Mount in Northern Iraq […]

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